A Tacoma police officer shot and injured a suspected car thief Sunday after police say the man entered one of their patrol cars and stepped on the gas.
The 26-year old man, who was shot in the hip, was transported to Tacoma General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, said Loretta Cool, spokeswoman for the Tacoma Police Department.
Two police officers also suffered minor injuries during the confrontation in Tacoma’s South End, according to a news release from the department.
Cool said the shooting occurred Sunday afternoon after police learned of a reported stolen vehicle.
Three officers attempted to approach the suspected car thief at the intersection of South 46th Street and South Asotin Street, Cool said.
“The suspect was noncompliant, failed to follow instructions and became combative,” according to the department’s news release.
While officers struggled with the suspect, the man entered the driver’s side of a police vehicle and stepped on the gas pedal, driving the vehicle into a car and a house, police said.
An officer was still holding onto the suspect as he accelerated, Cool said. During the altercation, one officer fired a single round that struck the suspect in the hip, she said.
Cool said that the officer who fired his gun is a 25-year veteran of the Tacoma Police Department. The 61-year-old officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure, she said.
As of Sunday evening, Tacoma Police weren’t releasing the officer’s name, but were conducting an investigation of the incident, Cool said.
Cool said more details about the shooting will be released as the department continues its investigation.